KUALA LUMPUR: Operators of barbershops/hairdressers, night markets and car wash services are breathing a sigh of relief after the government allowed them, subject to compliance with standard operating procedures (SOP), to reopen their businesses from yesterday.
In fact, some shed even tears of joy to see customers coming back again even though some did not reach the number of customers they enjoyed pre-Covid-19/Movement Control Order days since March last year.
Penang Indian Barber Association treasurer, V. Tharmararaj said he received a large number of customers today. He said his association is ready to implement strict SOPs to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 infection.
Tharmaraj was pleased to see a queue of customers of all races as early as 9.40 am wanting haircuts at his family’s barber shop.
“We received a phone call from association members yesterday, and all of them were happy and very grateful (to the government).
“But at the same time, there are friends (in the business) who do not have a good supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). They cannot afford to buy them (PPE) and they are also difficult to find. So we share our stock so that everyone can operate as soon as possible,” he told Bernama yesterday.
He is confident that many barbers are also moved by the overwhelming response on the first day (of operations) after facing severe financial problems for so long.
However, fortunes seemed different on the first day of reopening for car wash centres around Seberang Perai, Penang. Even though the centres opened as early as 8 am, they received discouraging numbers in customers.
The manager of Automatic Car Wash Centre in Permatang Rawa, Ng Jun Yao said since 8 am, the response was not as how it used to be during pre-Chinese New Year.
“Years ago, if it was close to the Chinese New Year celebration, many returning to the village would stop here to wash their cars. Now we only depend on the people around here. Nevertheless, I am happy to be allowed to operate again,” he said.
He said his company continued to pay the salaries of 12 employees and also provided them food even though the business was not allowed to operate.
In Tanah Merah, Kelantan, a barbershop owner, Ku Syafiq Izzat Ku Aziz, 24, said he was relieved because he relied entirely on the business for his livelihood.
“It gives me hope as previously I was unable to find another source of income. I have been supporting my family since my father died five years ago.
“With an uncertain income of sometimes RM50 a day, this is my main source of income,” he added.
Meanwhile, Norhisyam Sidek, 31, who operates a clothing business at the night market around here, is grateful that night markets can resume operations. It has given “life” to small traders like himself to earn income once again.
Yesterday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that night markets, barbershops/hairdressers, and car wash centres will be allowed to reopen after evaluating the sectors in terms of risk and the number of clusters produced for each business activity. — Bernama